500 Stranded on Indian Passenger Freighter
Over 500 passengers on the Indian passenger / general cargo vessel Harshavardhan were stranded at sea for days after the vessel ran into mechanical difficulty.
The casualty occurred six hours after the Harshavardhan departed Visakhapatnam Port on a regularly scheduled trip to Port Blair, in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Passengers suffered from seasickness in foul weather and high seas during the two-day ordeal, Indian media reported.
Accounts differed as to the nature of the mechanical casualty, with initial reports suggesting engine failure. Later updates indicated the loss of an auxiliary generator.
The vessel took all way off through the first night, and passengers were informed that the crew were working to sort out the difficulty.
Passengers informed Indian media that the ferry operator had not provided food during the outage and they had to buy food from the vessel's cafeteria instead.
Port authorities appealed to the vessel's master to return for repairs, Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) deputy chairman PL Harinadh told the Indian Express. The master initially refused and said that underway repairs would be completed soon, Harinadh said. The captain eventually relented, and the ship returned to Visakhapatnam on Thursday; passengers were refunded their full fare and given lunch coupons.
The 1982-built Harshavardhan operates on a route managed by the Shipping Corporation of India; her beneficial owner and inspection record are not available on Equasis. She is a passenger freighter with cargo holds forward, an increasingly rare vessel class.